The first transmitter in Senekal will be switched off today as part of the countdown to the Free State analogue switch-off in December.
This is in line with the commitment agreed to with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), as South Africa joins the international community in migrating from analogue to digital broadcasting.
South Africa recently hosted the ITU Telecom World conference in Durban, where developments in Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) dominated discussions.
The digital migration project is freeing up broadcasting spectrum, which in turn will translate into reduced data costs, improved picture and sound quality, an enriched user experience and more channels to choose from.
South Africa has already begun in earnest its migration campaign, having started switching communities in border-lying provinces from analogue to digital broadcasting to minimise signal interference from neighbouring countries. The Free State shares a border with landlocked Lesotho.
“A communication campaign is underway to ensure that all households are ready for the switch-off. Households with analogue television sets looking to buy new ones are advised to choose those with an integrated digital tuner,” said Minister Nomvula Mokonyane on Thursday at a post-Cabinet media briefing in Tshwane.
It has been 10 years since Cabinet approved the policy of the country migrating its analogue broadcasting system to digital. On Thursday, Mokonyane said Cabinet is satisfied with the progress being made.
Mokonyane had previously said the Department of Communications would look into potential public-private partnerships to support expedited migration to digital through cost-effective and efficient means.
Government is making available subsidised set-top boxes, which convert signal on analogue TV sets, to households earning less than R3 200 per month.
Households with an income above the threshold of R3 200 per month have an option of buying a new integrated digital TV set with the built-in digital terrestrial TV decoder, which is available through major retail outlets.